Grassroots Government Activities Committee (GGAC) exists to support cooperation with like-minded organizations and to work with community policymakers to promote ASHRAE members’ technical expertise – as well as the use of ASHRAE standards – and to advance ASHRAE’s public policy aims.
GGAC December Update
ASHRAE Grassroots Government Activities Committee (GGAC) Update
David Palty, GGAC Chairman, ASHRAE Tucson Chapter
The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a pre-publication a Federal Register notice of public meetings pertaining to the central air conditioners and heat pumps working group. (December 22, 2015).
· January 11, 2016; 9:30 am – 5:00 pm - at DOE's Forrestal Building, Room 8E-089
· January 12, 2016; 9:30 am – 3:00 pm - at 955 L’Enfant Plaza, 8th Floor. The working group will meet on January 12, 2016 only if the term sheet is not completed on January 11, 2016.
Energy Department Announces Largest Energy Efficiency Standard in History
December 17, 2015 - 12:43pm
New efficiency standards expected to save more energy than any other standard issued by the Energy Department to date.
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The U.S. Department of Energy today announced historic new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. Developed with industry, utilities, and environmental groups, these standards will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date. Over the lifetime of the products, businesses will save $167 billion on their utility bills and carbon pollution will be reduced by 885 million metric tons.
“Just days after the Paris agreement to cut global emissions and create a new era of affordable energy, today’s announcement marks the largest energy-saving standard in history and demonstrates that America is leading the effort to reduce energy costs and cut carbon emissions,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “This rule also shows that strong public-private partnerships can reap environmental and economic dividends and drive technology breakthroughs. These standards are a direct result of the Energy Department’s negotiated rulemaking process which brings diverse stakeholders to the negotiating table and supports industry innovation, demonstrating how government and business can work together to meet U.S. carbon reduction goals.”
During the Obama administration, the Department has finalized new efficiency standards for more than 40 household and commercial products, including commercial refrigeration equipment, electric motors, and fluorescent lamps, which will save consumers nearly $535 billion and cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 2 billion metric tons through 2030. Today’s announcement brings the Energy Department more than two-thirds of the way to achieving the goal of reducing carbon pollution by 3 billion metric tons through standards set in the President’s first and second terms. This is equivalent to cutting more than a year’s carbon pollution from the entire U.S. electricity system.
These new commercial air conditioning and furnace standards will occur in two phases. The first phase will begin in 2018 and will deliver a 13 percent efficiency improvement in products. Five years later, an additional 15 percent increase in efficiency is required for new commercial units.
Commercial air conditioners, also known as rooftop units, are commonly used in low-rise buildings such as schools, restaurants, big-box stores and small office buildings. They cool about half of the total commercial floor space in the United States.
To finalize this standard, the Department convened 17 stakeholders, including major industry organizations, including the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute and Air Conditioning Contractors of America, along with some of the nation’s leading manufacturers, utilities, and efficiency organizations. Manufacturing new products will provide skilled jobs for American workers, garnering the support of labor leaders. These standards also come after years of industry innovation.
The Energy Department’s High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge catalyzed several manufacturers to develop more efficient, cost-effective rooftop air conditioners. With these new units commercialized, the Department’s Advanced Rooftop Unit Campaign has spurred businesses to upgrade over 40,000 rooftop units by providing them with technical assistance throughout the process. The new standards will ensure all businesses have access to energy-saving air conditioners that lower their utility bills for years to come.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published its proposals for the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). These are the result of a public process to identify potential code improvements, and represent the final versions which will be submitted to the IECC development process, as administered by the International Code Council (ICC). The proposals, along with those submitted by other interested parties, will be considered through the IECC code development process in the coming months.
Further information on the IECC development and public hearing schedule is available on the ICC website.
More information on the Department's support for building energy codes, including participation in industry model code development processes, is available on the DOE Building Energy Codes Program website: www.energycodes.gov.
Omnibus Funding and Tax Bill to Be Signed Into Law
Congress is finishing work on H.R. 2029, which combines both the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 and the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015. President Barack Obama has signaled that he will sign the bill into law.
Often referred to as the “omnibus”, this bill combines the 12 annual appropriations bills into a single package, providing funding levels for federal programs until the end of the 2016 federal fiscal year next September. In a move to meet the needs of the moment, the bill also makes several changes to tax provisions. Below is a summary of the key provisions in the bill of greatest interest to ASHRAE and its members:
The reference standard to the 179D Commercial Building Tax Deduction was changed from ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001 to Standard 90.1-2007, and extends the deduction until December 31, 2016.
House Passes H.R. 8 – Includes Harmful Building Energy Codes Language
Yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (H.R. 8). This bill contains harmful building energy codes language that ASHRAE and a large number of other professional societies and nonprofit stakeholder organizations oppose. This language threatens to reduce understanding of the potential full impacts of the model building energy codes by likely limiting the technical assistance that the US Department of Energy currently provides, upon request, to ASHRAE, the International Code Council, States, and Indian tribes for the development, adoption, and implementation of these model codes.
“While ASHRAE is disappointed with the passage of this language, we applaud the efforts of Representative Peter Welch (D-VT-At Large) in seeking an amendment to H.R. 8 that would have replaced the harmful building energy codes language with language from the bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2015 (H.R. 2177),” said ASHRAE President David Underwood in a press release ASHRAE issued today. Previously introduced by Representatives Welch and David McKinley (R-WV-1), H.R. 2177, is widely supported and has been carefully negotiated over a number of years, embodying the collective wisdom of many.
“ASHRAE remains hopeful that Congress will ultimately demonstrate its support for market-driven energy efficiency by enacting legislation that protects the development, adoption, and implementation of private sector-led, consensus-based model building energy codes” added Underwood.
President Barack Obama issued a veto threat earlier this week for H.R. 8, citing as one of the first reasons for his opposition to the bill that it “would stifle the Nation's move toward energy efficiency by severely hampering the Department of Energy's (DOE) ability to provide technical support for building code development and State implementation.”
H.R. 8 now goes to the Senate, where it will likely stall, as the Senate is considering its own energy bills – the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012) and the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2015 (S. 720). The Senate is expected to consider at least one of these bills in January 2016.
OE Proposes Supplemental Rule on Test Procedures for Portable Air Conditioners
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNOPR) to modify the test procedure proposals for portable air conditioners. This SNOPR would, among other things, incorporate by reference ASHRAE Standard 37-2009 Methods of Testing for Rating Electrically Driven Unitary Air-Conditioning and Heat Pump Equipment. The SNOPR also discusses Standard 128 Method of Rating Portable Air Conditioners, and the ASHRAE Handbook – Fundamentals.
Comments are due on or before December 28, 2015. Full information can be found by clicking here.
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